Connor Pain praised the effort of part-timers Balmain, admitting his Melbourne Victory were forced to fight hard for their Westfield FFA Cup triumph on Tuesday night.
The Hyundai A-League champions ran out 6-0 winners against the side from the third-tier of NSW football in front of almost 5000 fans at Leichhardt Oval.
While Victory were always expected to make light work of the Tigers, it wasn’t until midway through the second half they put the result to bed.
“That first 15 to 20 minutes was a real, real hard fight,” Pain told www.theffacup.com.au.
“I’m not just saying it, we really had to work hard. We wanted an earlier goal [than we got] but we didn’t get it and we had to rally.
“It’s full credit to them [Balmain], they didn’t make it easy for us and we had to be patient before we eventually got on top.
“The innovation of the FFA cup is great, it gives us the chance to play competitive fixtures as soon as you come back which is fantastic.”
Pain scored one goal and had a hand in a couple of others as he was given a rare start with a number of Victory stars unavailable for the trip to Sydney.
The youngster hopes this will be the start of a concerted run in the first-team but knows it won’t be easy.
“That’s one of the trade-offs of playing in such a good team, I want to be playing more football but I’m also happy to bide my time and keep learning off the guys,” he said.
“I’m sure it will come soon. I’m confident in what I do so hopefully it comes.
“There’s plenty of games and plenty of time to prove yourself. We’ve got the [AFC] Champions League as well this year.
“We’d love to go back-to-back [in the A-League] but to also win another trophy [in the FFA Cup] would be great.”